With access to finance for growth so critical to starting and scaling ground-breaking tech companies, the two organisations feel this merger will contribute significantly to strengthening the appeal of the Oxford Cluster as a great place for companies to flourish. They say it is a vital step towards realising Oxfordshire’s potential, as expressed in the Local Industrial Strategy, of becoming one of the leading innovation ecosystems worldwide.
OUI and OION will collaborate in the selection of companies to be invited to pitch at seven annual investor showcase events. The merger of the two networks will give both new and existing angels an opportunity to invest in new tech companies from the Oxford Cluster and the wider UK, all under one roof. Potential opportunities will include a diverse range of tech firms, from innovative software startups to deep tech university spinouts.
The merged business will be branded as OION (incorporating OAN), with OAN members invited to transfer their membership to OION.
Jens Tholstrup, Executive Chairman at OION, said: “This merger represents a really important step in strengthening of the Oxfordshire early-stage finance ecosystem. This is a combination that will help ambitious companies access early stage finance to help develop and grow their businesses and will provide the community of investors with an even greater selection of innovative technology and knowledge-intensive businesses.
“We are delighted to be uniting our team with OUI building on our existing and fruitful co-operation and we welcome the opportunity to present Oxford University spin out companies to our combined network of investors.”
Matt Perkins, Chief Executive Officer at OUI, added: “The Oxford Cluster is bursting at the seams with game-changing startups and spinouts, with a diverse range of technology at their core that can and will impact the world for the better. Already riding a wave of unprecedented company generation and record investment levels driven by the world’s number one university, this new partnership is the perfect catalyst for our early-stage companies to reach new heights. Such collaboration across the cluster is essential to our mission of working with our neighbours to create a world-leading innovation ecosystem.”